Hello again! This has been a whirlwind of a week, so I hope you enjoy following along as I explain all I was able to experience. Right now the Budget & Management Services Department is putting together the Fiscal Year 2020, or FY20, budget. This means that most of the work I am involved in is ensuring that numbers are aligned and descriptions for departments are accurate. Reading through the current 286 page document (it will continue to get even longer) has allowed me to better understand initiatives being taken on by the City of Durham. This has also helped me to improve my Excel skills as I work to make changes to the numbers that need updating. If you would like to see an example of Durham’s previous budget, FY19 documentation can be found here.
When I am not working on the FY20 budget, I have an individual budget assignment that has been assigned to me by my supervisors, Ben Kittelson and Pat Madej. Currently I am analyzing Durham local sales taxes from 2008-2018 to create an analysis of changes to collection, policy, and rates over the ten year timeline. Most of the data is coming from North Carolina’s Department of Revenue and old files from the City of Durham.
As I said in my post last week, I also was able to attend #ELGL19, which was put on by Engaging Local Government Leaders. On Wednesday, there was an Innovation Summit, where leaders in the field discussed best practices for finding creative solutions in local government. As someone breaking into this work, it was fascinating to hear more about what other governments have been doing, and how I can work to improve innovation in whatever role I serve in going forward.
Thursday and Friday were the main days of the conference, with a variety of sessions discussing changes being made by local government leaders around the country. One of my favorite sessions was called, “Engaging Local Government Employees.” The leaders on this panel discussed ways that cities and counties can improve the wellness of employees, and continue to recruit the best and brightest minds. My favorite photo can be seen below, of Brian Farmer (MPA ’20) and myself, imitating Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson.
The conference finished Friday afternoon, and right after, folks from our department went back to the office. Pat and I attended a meeting with the Durham Emergency Communications Center, where we discussed the end of FY19 with staff.
On Monday, most of my day consisted of HR workshops but during the breaks in the day I went to the Budget & Management Services office to prepare for the City Council meeting that night. Before the Council adopts the FY20 budget, they must ensure that the democratic process is being followed, and share information with the public. Members of the community gathered to hear more about changes and proposals that the City Manager is recommending to the Council. A photo from the event can be seen below.
Residents brought forward their thoughts on the positives and negatives of the budget. Many discussed the proposed increase to police staff, as well as a request for a livable wage for part-time City employees. The Council has a lot to ponder before adopting the budget but I look forward to keeping everyone updated as we continue.